PSU Practice Opens with the Player Transfers at 9 and Recruit Decommits at 3

Mark BatorAnalyst IIAugust 6, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 29:  Joe Paterno addresses the media after the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini on October 29, 2011 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania.  The Nittany Lions defeated the Fighting Illini 10-7.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After what was arguably the most turbulent offseason in the history of college sports, the Penn State Nittany Lions have finally opened fall practice.

"It's a new Penn State," said head coach Bill O'Brien about the first post-Paterno football season (via SI.com). "It's a new Penn State football program."

The team, and the University, look to recover after the fallout of a scandal and the NCAA sanctions imposed upon them—sanctions that continue to have repercussions.

The severity of the NCAA penalties has caused nine players from the 2012 roster to transfer to other programs in the hopes of playing in postseason bowl games or for a national championship—something Penn State fans will be unable to enjoy for at least the next four years.

“We do have some restrictions, but we all know why they’re there,” said O'Brien (via WashingtonPost.com) on the sanctions.

The transfers of the program's current players have been well publicized, but the hidden damage is the toll the scandal and the sanctions have already taken on recruiting. Players from both the 2012 recruiting class as well as the 2013 class have decommitted, and there may be no way to effectively calculate the lasting effect on the program's ability to draw top players in the future.

Most recently (as reported by Scott Brown of TribLive.com), wide receiver prospect Will Fuller pulled out of his verbal commitment to Penn State and chose instead to join Notre Dame. Along with the earlier decommitments of defensive end Greg Webb and defensive back Ross Douglas, Fuller's decision brings the total number of decommited 2013 prospects to three.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

As for the 2012 Nittany Lions, the program has seen three more recent transfers. The latest players who have opted to leave Penn State are kicker/punter Anthony Fera (Texas), offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki (Illinois) and wide receiver Justin Brown (Oklahoma).

Brown accounted for two touchdowns last season and Fera accounted for 62 points as the kicker. Add to that the loss of running back Silas Redd (seven touchdowns), and the scoring drain on the 2012 Nittany Lions has been tremendous.

As the calendar has turned to August and college football camps are beginning to open, the likelihood is that Penn State has seen the last of its transfers, as players cannot wait much longer if they expect to assimilate with new programs.

That, at least, is the hope of the head coach, who feels that the players who have stayed will not be making the jump to perceived greener pastures.

"I'm very confident that the guys out here today are committed," said O'Brien (as quoted by the WashingtonPost.com), whose resolve was tempered with a touch of uncertainty. "Again, it's day to day, but I'm confident in these guys."

Related

    Penn State Cornerback Donovan Johnson Will Miss 2020 Season

    Penn State Football logo
    Penn State Football

    Penn State Cornerback Donovan Johnson Will Miss 2020 Season

    Roar Lions Roar
    via Roar Lions Roar

    Junior cornerback Donovan Johnson to miss 2020 season

    Penn State Football logo
    Penn State Football

    Junior cornerback Donovan Johnson to miss 2020 season

    Rivals
    via Rivals

    Penn State corner to miss 2020 season

    Penn State Football logo
    Penn State Football

    Penn State corner to miss 2020 season

    Lions247
    via Lions247

    Report: Tua's Brother Taulia Has Maryland Transfer Waiver Approved

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Report: Tua's Brother Taulia Has Maryland Transfer Waiver Approved

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report